Sunshine May Reduce Food Allergy Risk

Food allergy risk in children decreased with sun exposure

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) An easy way reduce food allergy risk may be coming through your window. Sunlight exposure may reduce the risk of food allergies and eczema in children.

In a new study, children living in areas with low sunlight levels had a higher risk of developing eczema and food allergies than children living in an area with higher sun levels.

This research may provide parents with an easy, and free, way to reduce food allergy and eczema risks.

"Ask your doctor about food allergy tests for your child."

The research was led by Dr. Nick Osborne from the European Centre for Environment & Human Health. Using data from a study involving Australian children, researchers examined the link between sunlight exposure and food allergies, asthma and eczema.

Where a child was, located either on the northern or southern part of Australia, determined the risk of developing food allergies or eczema. Children in southern Australia were twice as likely to develop eczema than children in northern Australia.

Exposure to sunlight allows the body to develop vitamin D. Previous research has shown a link between low vitamin D levels and allergies in children.

Children in the north were closer to the equator which meant they had higher levels of sunlight than children in southern Australia. While location plays a part in sunlight levels other factors such as climate variations need to be considered when determining sunlight exposure.

Researchers conclude that where you live might affect your child's risk of developing food allergies or eczema. Future research can better determine how much of a role sunlight exposure plays when it comes to vitamin D levels. Additional studies can look at the relationship between vitamin D and food allergy risk.

Sunlight can do a body good but beware of overexposure. Too much time in the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer. Make sure children are properly protected against overexposure while spending time outside.

European Centre for Environment & Human Health is supported by investment from the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund Convergence Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. No author conflicts were published.

This study was published in the February edition of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 3, 2012
Last Updated:
February 4, 2012